The laws relating to owning and renting mobile homes, such as park homes and static caravans, are different to those for flats and houses. This is because, in many cases, someone else will own the land where the mobile home is sited.
From May 2013, new rules mean people who live in their own home on a protected site have more rights. The most important change is that it is easier for the owners of mobile homes to sell their homes on the open market, without interference from the owner of the park where they live. For more information, see the Gov.uk leaflet Know your rights.
Protected and unprotected mobile home sites
Mobile home sites and parks can be protected or unprotected. A protected site has planning permission and a site licence from the local council, and the site must meet the council's safety and amenity standards.
Living on a protected site gives you certain rights, for example:
- protection from eviction
- a residential contract, which entitles you to live in your mobile home. This can be in writing but doesn't have to be. As long as you have verbal permission from the site owner to occupy a mobile home on the site, and they accept rent from you, then a residential contract exists between you.
If you’re thinking of moving to a particular site, ask the owner to show you a copy of the site licence. Check that the site is licensed for residential use, not just as a holiday site. You could also contact the local council’s environmental health department and ask whether there have been any problems with the site licence. Use the Gov.uk council finder to find the council's contact details.
Find out if the site owner actually owns the land the site is based on, or if they lease it from someone else. If they lease it, ask how long their lease will last. When their lease ends, your right to stay on the pitch will end as well.
If your mobile home is placed on private land or the site only has planning permission as a holiday site, you will live on an unprotected site and you will have very few rights.
Renting a mobile home
If you rent a mobile home, your tenancy rights will be based on the law and the agreement you have with your landlord. This will either be a written agreement or a verbal agreement. If you don't have a written agreement, you still have rights – see our page on mobile home tenancies for more information
Owning a mobile home
Most banks and building societies don't offer mortgages for buying mobile homes. If you need a loan you may need to find a specialist lender.
Unless you own land, you will need to rent a pitch to keep your mobile home on. You will have have to pay rent to the owner for the pitch for your home. These pitch fees are usually paid monthly. You’ll probably also need to pay service charges as well, for services like water, gas and electricity.
When you choose a site to keep your mobile home on, or buy a mobile home already on a pitch, ask for full details about the costs of living on the site. Ask the site owner about:
- pitch fees, and how much have they gone up over the past few years
- what it will cost to connect your mobile home to gas, water and electricity supplies
- service charges, and how are they calculated
You’ll also need to pay council tax on your mobile home. You can use the Gov.uk website to check your council tax band.
Moving into a mobile home
Your rights and obligations are set out in a written statement between you and the site owner. The statement must set out express and implied terms of the agreement.
The site owner must give you the written statement at least 28 days before you sign the agreement, unless you ask them to give it to you at a later date.
If you are buying a new home in a park, or bringing your own home onto the site, you will be able to negotiate the terms of the agreement with the site owner.
If you are buying a second-hand home that’s already on the site, you will have to stick with the agreement signed by the previous owner.
Some of the terms of the agreement, known as ‘implied terms’, are laid down in law and can’t be changed. These include:
- your obligations, as the occupier
- the site owner’s obligations
- how the agreement can be ended, either by you or the site owner
- your right to sell your mobile home
- your right to gift your mobile home
- what happens to your mobile home if you die
- your rights if the mobile home is to be re-sited
- when pitch reviews can be carried out.
More information on implied terms is available from Gov.uk.
Both you and the site owner can agree to add in additional 'express terms' or conditions, so long as they don't come into conflict with the implied terms. For example, you can include terms about:
- service charges, and when you have to pay these
- maintenance and repair arrangements, for you and the site owner
- when the site owner can gain access to the pitch on which your home is stationed.
Make sure that any express terms you want to include in the agreement are listed on your written statement from the site owner. If they’re not, you won’t be able to enforce them.
The express terms often include a responsibility to stick to the park rules. These rules may cover things like:
- where you can park vehicles
- where you can hang washing out
- if any pets are allowed on the site
- considerate behaviour, for example, there may be restrictions on playing loud music at night.
Find more about your park home rights and responsibilities from Gov.uk.
Mobile home owners have to pay a pitch fee to the site owner to rent the land their mobile home sits on.
The site owner can propose changing the pitch fee once a year. To do this, they must give you 28 days’ notice in writing, and must use a standard form called the Pitch Fee Review Form. This form explains your rights and the pitch review process.
If you and the site owner can’t agree on a new fee, the site owner can apply to a tribunal. Until the tribunal reaches a decision, you should continue to pay your current fee.
Selling your mobile home
If you are a mobile home owner on a protected site, you have the right to sell your home on the open market. You can also give it (gift it) to a member of your family.
Under new rules from May 2013, the site owner does not have the right to approve the buyer or family member. You do not have to give contact details or references for your buyer. However, any new occupant of the mobile home will have to agree to any existing site rules.
It is illegal for the site owner to give false or misleading information that would interfere with your sale.
The site owner is entitled to 10% of the sale price as commission. The new owner must pay this within 7 days of buying the mobile home.
More information on selling mobile homes is available from Gov.uk.
When can you be evicted from a mobile home?
Living on an unprotected site usually means the site owner can evict you from the site very easily, and at any time – even without them serving a notice or getting a court order. If the site owner wants to evict you, get advice immediately - use our directory to find a local advice centre.
Owning a mobile home on a protected site means a site owner can only terminate your agreement by getting a court order. The court will only grant an order if any of the following reasons apply:
- You have breached a term of the agreement, and have not fixed this within a reasonable time, for example by falling into arrears with your pitch fees.
- You are not occupying the mobile home as your only or main residence.
- Your mobile home is in such poor condition that it is having a negative effect on the rest of the site.
If you rent your mobile home, your rights regarding eviction will be different depending on what kind of tenancy you have.